Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Family: Caliciviridae


Caliciviridae is a family of viruses, members of Class IV of the Baltimore scheme. They are positive-sense, single stranded RNA which is non-segmented. There are currently seven species in this family, divided among 5 genera. Diseases associated with this family include: feline calicivirus: respiratory disease; rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus: often-fatal hemorrhages; norwalk group of viruses: gastroenteritis.[1][2] Caliciviruses naturally infect vertebrates, and have been found in a number of organisms such as humans, cattle, pigs, cats, chickens, reptiles, dolphins and amphibians. The caliciviruses have a simple construction and are not enveloped. The capsid appears hexagonal/spherical and has icosahedral symmetry (T=1 or T=3[1]) with a diameter of 35–39 nm.[3]

Caliciviruses are not very well studied because until recently they could not be grown in culture, and there is no suitable animal model. However, the recent application of modern genomic technologies has led to an increased understanding of the virus family.[3] A recent isolate from rhesus monkeys—Tulane virus—can be grown in culture and this system promises to increase our understanding of these viruses.[4]

The name calicivirus is derived from the Greek word calyx meaning cup or goblet. This name is appropriate as many strains have visible cup-shaped depressions.


The Caliciviridae family includes the following genera:

Group: ssRNA(+)


Two additional genera have been proposed: Recovirus for a novel calicivirus detected in stool specimens from rhesus monkeys[5] and Valovirus—for a novel group of swine caliciviruses known as the St-Valérien-like viruses. These genera have yet to be officially approved. There are a number of other unclassified caliciviruses including the chicken calicivirus.


All viruses in this family possess a non-segmented, polyadenylated, positive sense single stand RNA genome of ~7.5–8.5 kilobases in length, enclosed in an icosahedral capsid of 27–40 nanometers in diameter.

Genus Structure Symmetry Capsid Genomic Arrangement Genomic Segmentation
NebovirusIcosahedralT=1, T=3Non-EnvelopedLinearMonopartite
LagovirusIcosahedralT=1, T=3Non-EnvelopedLinearMonopartite
NorovirusIcosahedralT=1, T=3Non-EnvelopedLinearMonopartite
VesivirusIcosahedralT=1, T=3Non-EnvelopedLinearMonopartite

Life Cycle

Viral replication is cytoplasmic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by attachment to host receptors, which mediates endocytosis. Replication follows the positive stranded RNA virus replication model. Positive stranded RNA virus transcription is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by leaky scanning, and RNA termination-reinitiation. Vertebrates serve as the natural host. Transmission routes are fecal-oral.[1]

Genus Host Details Tissue Tropism Entry Details Release Details Replication Site Assembly Site Transmission
NebovirusBovineLiverCell receptor endocytosisLysisCytoplasmCytoplasmUnknown
LagovirusLagomorphsLiverCell receptor endocytosisLysisCytoplasmCytoplasmContact
SapovirusHumans; swineIntestinal epitheliumCell receptor endocytosisLysisCytoplasmCytoplasmOral-fecal
NorovirusHumans; mammalsIntestinal epitheliumCell receptor endocytosisLysisCytoplasmCytoplasmOral-fecal
VesivirusFelinesUpper respiratoryCell receptor endocytosisLysisCytoplasmCytoplasmAerosol

Human disease

Calicivirus infections commonly cause acute gastroenteritis, which is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines (e.g. the Norwalk Virus). Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms emerge after an incubation time of 2 days and the symptoms only generally last for 3 days. Most calicivirus infections do not call for medical attention, but those who are immunocompromised may need to be hospitalized for rehydration therapy.

Animal viruses

Feline calicivirus (FCV)—a member of the Vesivirus—represents an important pathogen of cats.

Sapovirus, Norovirus and Vesivirus have been detected in pigs, making this animal species of particular interest in the study of calicivirus pathogenesis and host range.

The first mouse norovirus, murine norovirus 1 (MNV-1), was discovered in 2003. Since then, numerous murine norovirus strains have been identified and they were assigned a new genogroup in the genus Norovirus.

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a pathogen of rabbits that causes major problems throughout the world where rabbits are reared for food and clothing, make a significant contribution to ecosystem ecology, and where they support valued wildlife as a food source.[3]


Australia and New Zealand, in an effort to control their rabbit populations, have intentionally spread calicivirus.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Viral Zone". ExPASy. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. 1 2 ICTV. "Virus Taxonomy: 2014 Release". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 Hansman, GS (editor) (2010). Caliciviruses: Molecular and Cellular Virology. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-63-9.
  4. Yu G, Zhang D, Guo F, Tan M, Jiang X, Jiang W (2013) Cryo-EM structure of a novel calicivirus, Tulane Virus. PLoS One 8(3):e59817. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059817
  5. Farkas T, Sestak K, Wei C, Jiang X (2008) Characterization of a rhesus monkey calicivirus representing a new genus of Caliciviridae. J Virol 82: 5408–5416. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00070-08

External links

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